What is the function of goblet cells?

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Our bodies constitute various types of cells and perform different functions depending upon their location. All cell types have their special characteristics and functions,for example , we have the germ cells which are responsible for the formation of spermatozoa and ova, the white blood cells help with protecting the body against infections, the somatic cells are the undifferentiated cells which help the body grow.Goblet cells are present in our body for performing special mucus secretion function. Most of the living organisms have evolved from the eukaryotic type of cells while the prokaryotic cells can be found only in bacterial or some species of blue green algae


What are goblet cells?

The name goblet is derived due to the special shape of these cells which is common in traditional fixed type of tissues. It has a narrow base and the apical portion is expanded that also sometimes goes further into the lumen. These cells are simple columnar epithelial cells appearing glandular in shape. The major fucniton of goblet cells is to store mucin which when dissolved in water forms mucus. The goblet cells use both apocrine as well as merocrine ways for storing mucus. The cytoplasm of these cells majorly is covered by the granules, excluding the bottom. The basal portion comprise of nucleus, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and the other organelles. Microvilli are projected by the top layered plasma membrane due to which the surface area of secretion gets enhanced. According to the latest updates, goblet You do not have access to view this node also secrete glycoprotein which is supposed to be an organ specific antigen located in the gut area.


What is the distribution of goblet cells?

Goblet cells lay scattered amongst other types of cells in the epithelium, mostly in the respiratory and intestinal tract. In some cases, they are less in number as compared to other types of cells whereas in tissues of colon, they can be found more profusely. The absorptive epithelial cells cover the villus in large majority, but even then the goblet cells can be clearly seen. It is similar to the situation in tracheal or bronchial epithelium.


What is the morphology of goblet cells?

Irrespective of fixation, these cells show very distinct polarized morphology. The nucleus of these cells is placed at the base along with the other organelles and the remaining of the cell is composed of mucus which is a secretory granule bounded by membrane.



How does goblet cells secret mucus?

The mucus is secreted by goblet cells by initially accomplishing stimuli. The lumen present in the intestinal tract comprise of numerous irritants whereas in organs such as lungs, smoke or dust are also the potent inducers helping secretion of goblet You do not have access to view this node. The secretion of mucus is carried out by the goblet cells with the help of secretory granules via process termed as exocytosis. Goblet You do not have access to view this node have been found to use two different pathways of secretion: These are:

  • Constitutive or basal secretion
  • Stimulated secretion

Initially the mucus present in goblet cells granules is in condensed state, but when secreted the mucus expands in volume enormously and also instantaneously. Some studies reveal that the mucin gel can increase to 500 times in a span of only 20 milliseconds.



What are functions of mucus?

The most important function of goblet cells is to secrete mucus which is a viscous fluid and is composed of mucins that are highly glycosylated proteins suspended in electrolyte solutions. The main functions of mucus are protecting against stress and chemical damage (mostly the respiratory tree), trapping as well as eliminating microorganisms and particulate matter.


What are the disorders related to goblet cells?

One of the specialties of goblet cells is that they can differentiate into other type of cells. A common example of this is respiratory tract in which the goblet cells act as progenitor or ciliated epithelial cells. Sometimes the goblet cells increase in excess indicating the affliction of some diseases. Common examples are chronic bronchitis and cystic fibrosis wherein goblet cell hyperplasia or metaplasia has been discovered.


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